The Lakers certainly aren’t playing like a championship team.
They’re not sounding like one, either.
“It’s obvious we have trust issues, and unless we come out and discuss them then nothing is going to change,” center Andrew Bynum said after the game.
Trust issues with what?
“Individually. Between all 13 of us we’ve got trust issues right now.”
Maybe the entire team needs to go see Ron Artest’s psychologist.
How do these issues manifest themselves?
“I mean I think it’s quite obvious to anybody watching the game,” Bynum said. “Hesitation on passes, defensively not being there for you teammate because he wasn’t there for you before. Stuff like that.”
Bynum later was asked if these issues were personal or basketball issues. He said both
Allow me to translate:
Give me the damn ball.
Bynum had 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting (plus 13 rebounds). Let late in the game the Lakers kept feeding ice-cold Pau Gasol or just having guys shoot jumpers while Bynum had his man pinned deep (Kobe Bryant did that to him a couple times, among others).
On defense, Gasol and Lamar Odom struggled to defend the J.J. Barea and Dirk Nowitzki pick-and-roll, and the result was Barea racing in at Bynum who slid over to defend the paint, but nobody helped the helper and Barea either scored or hit an open man for a better shot. He carved the Lakers up like a Christmas turkey.
It’s pretty rare to hear a player call out his teammates with trust issues. That may well not go over in the locker room. Kobe seemed more concerned with bigger issues after the game (like being down 2-0 and having to head to Dallas).
“I think the trust that he’s referring to is being able to help each other on the defensive end of the floor,” Bryant said. “You saw a lot of layups. He gets frustrated with he supports a guard coming off the screen and roll and nobody supports him when he’s a big rolling to the basket.”
The Lakers are a team with a lot of issues right now. Trust is just one of them.